Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 22

The separatist Chechenpress news agency on May 29 published an appeal by the chairman of the board of the Society of Concentration (Filtration) Camp Prisoners in the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Vakha Banzhaev, which claimed that over the last 12 years more than 250,000 Chechens have been killed, 87,000 have “become disabled or crippled,” over 130,000 have been detained in camps, and more than 35,000 have disappeared without a trace.

“Russia’s political and military leadership, in close cooperation with the bodies of the prosecutor’s office, justice, and the so-called ‘bureau of death’ of Alkhanov and Kadyrov, who are the Russian president’s henchmen in the Chechen Republic, is deluding both the Russian and the world public about what is really happening in the Chechen Republic, encouraging and covering up the crimes being perpetrated by the Russian military and its special services,” read the appeal. “During the course of two military campaigns hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have become the victims of this criminal policy, subjected to torture and torment or executed without trial and investigation in filtration camps, waiting stations, dungeons, and drainage pits set up in the deployment areas of troop units and sub-units of the Russian troops.” In the appeal, Banzhaev named over 20 sites in Chechnya that he said are “concentration camps and places of temporary confinement where the above-mentioned crimes have been and still are being perpetrated.” He added that prisoners “are also kept in dungeons at virtually every sentry point and deployment area of the occupation troops in the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.”

Banzhaev wrote that the “most distressing thing is that Russia is carrying out all this barbarity and genocide with the silent assent of the governments of many democratic countries of the world who recognize the observation of basic human rights as one of the main priorities of their domestic and foreign policy.” Banzhaev’s appeal was directed to the parliaments and governments of all countries, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organization of Non-represented Peoples, and “all organizations involved in human rights and humanitarian activity.”